|Publication number||US8051529 B2|
|Application number||US 11/455,547|
|Publication date||Nov 8, 2011|
|Filing date||Jun 19, 2006|
|Priority date||Jan 20, 2006|
|Also published as||US20070169305, WO2007087200A2, WO2007087200A3|
|Publication number||11455547, 455547, US 8051529 B2, US 8051529B2, US-B2-8051529, US8051529 B2, US8051529B2|
|Inventors||James P Shea|
|Original Assignee||James P Shea|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (22), Non-Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (4), Classifications (7), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/761,054, filed on Jan. 20, 2006. The disclosure of the above application is incorporated herein by reference.
The present disclosure relates to material-removal systems and, more particularly, to material-removal systems that include a fluid-blasting, spray-head assembly.
The statements in this section merely provide background information related to the present disclosure and may not constitute prior art.
Material-removal systems can use a fluid-blasting, spray-head assembly (hereinafter referred to as “spray-head assembly”) to remove material from a surface. The spray-head assembly can direct a stream of high-pressure fluid onto a surface to remove material therefrom. The spray-head assembly can be coupled to a vehicle and moved along a road surface to remove coatings, such as striping, from the road surface.
The spray-head assembly typically includes individual fluid bars that each rotate about an associated pivot. Each fluid bar is spaced apart and disposed within separate shrouds or housings and rotates therein. The shroud is open on one side to allow the pressurized fluid from the fluid bar to be directed toward the working surface. Each rotating fluid bar has an effective area or sweep over which the pressurized fluid is directed. The rotation of the fluid bar results in a circular sweep with a diameter that is related to the length of the fluid bar and the distance from the surface. To increase the effective area of the spray-head assembly, the multiple fluid bars are arranged so that the sweep of the individual rotating fluid bars overlaps one another. The use of individual or separate shrouds for each fluid bar, however, can result in a large spray-head assembly. The larger the spray-head assembly is, the more difficult it can be to control the spray-head assembly and/or maneuver the spray-head assembly into confined spaces or restricted areas. Thus, it would be advantageous to provide a spray-head assembly that allows for overlapping sweeps of the spray patterns while reducing the overall size of the spray-head assembly.
The spray-head assembly is typically used as part of a material-removal system which can include a mobile platform, such as a vehicle or truck, which can move the spray-head assembly along a surface having a material thereon that is to be removed. The material-removal system typically includes a fluid-supply system operable to supply high-pressure fluid to the fluid bars in the spray-head assembly. The fluid-supply system typically includes a fluid-storage tank disposed on the vehicle. In some applications, the debris and sprayed fluid need to be cleaned up from the surface. In these applications, the material-removal system can include a debris tank that communicates with a vacuum system. The vacuum system is connected to the spray-head assembly to suck up the debris removed from the surface along with the fluid and directs the flow to the debris tank for collection therein.
The debris tank and fluid tank are formed as a single combined unit separated by a wall. The debris and sprayed fluid are collected in the debris tank and are periodically removed therefrom. During the removal process, the combined debris and fluid tank are tilted upwardly to allow the sludge to be removed via gravity. The physical combination of the fluid and debris tanks, however, requires that the lifting and tilting apparatus be sized to lift and tilt both the fluid tank and the debris tank. Thus, the physical combination of the fluid and debris tanks requires that the lifting and tilting device be larger than that required to lift and tilt only the debris tank. Additionally, the capacity of the fluid tank may be limited due to the available lifting and tilting devices that can be attached to the mobile platform. Thus, it would be advantageous to separate the debris tank from the fluid tank. Additionally, it would be advantageous if the debris tank could be lifted and tilted separate from the fluid tank such that the lifting and tilting device need only be sized to accommodate the expected load associated with the debris tank.
During operation, the debris tank can be under vacuum. The vacuum imparted on the debris tank can inhibit the removal of liquid from the debris tank during the operation of the vacuum system. In some applications or areas, it may be permissible to discharge filtered fluid directly to the environment. The ability to discharge the filtered fluid directly to the environment can reduce the operating weight of the mobile platform during operation and/or decrease the debris-removal time. The reduced weight may result in more efficient operation of the material-removal system and result in decreased operating costs. The ability to reduce the debris-removal time allows the material-removal system to spend more time removing material and increases its up time. The material-removal system may run out of fluid before the debris tank is full of debris. The ability to remove the fluid while under vacuum can allow the fluid to be removed while traveling to a fluid-fill station thus requiring only a filling operation at the station and not a fluid-dumping operation when the debris tank is not full of debris. This ability can advantageously increase the available operating time of such a material-removal system and thereby increase the revenue generated by same. Thus, it would be advantageous to be able to remove the liquid from the debris tank while the material-removal system is operating and the debris tank is under vacuum.
The present disclosure teaches a fluid-blasting, spray-head assembly that can be used to remove coatings from a surface. The fluid-blasting head can include a plurality of fluid bars that each directs a flow of pressurized fluid at a desired surface. The fluid bars can rotate about individual pivots. The fluid bars can be indexed relative to one another such that the rotation of the fluid bars is coordinated. Multiple fluid bars can be disposed within a single shroud and can have overlapping sweeps such that a sweep of one of the rotating fluid bars can overlap the sweep of one or more adjacent rotating fluid bars. The fluid bars can be aligned in a straight configuration with overlapping sweeps. A gear assembly can be coupled to each of the fluid bars to index the rotation. A drive system can drive rotation of the fluid bars. A vacuum source can be connected to the shroud to capture debris.
The spray-head assembly can include a plurality of fluid bars operable to direct a flow of high-pressure fluid toward a surface. The fluid bars can be simultaneously rotatable about individual axes and can overlap one another during rotation. A drive mechanism can drive rotation of the fluid bars about the respective axes. The drive mechanism can coordinate the rotation of the fluid bars such the fluid bars do not hit during the simultaneous rotation. The overlapping of the fluid bars can advantageously provide a spray-head assembly of reduced size. The fluid bars can be enclosed within a single cavity with a shroud. A vacuum source can be coupled to the spray-head assembly to capture the discharge fluid and debris generated by the fluid in a debris tank. The vacuum source can draw a flow of cooling air over the drive mechanism to cool the drive mechanism. The drive mechanism can include a plurality of fins on the exterior thereof to facilitate the removal of heat with the cooling air flow.
The spray-head assembly can be mounted on a vehicle for travel along a road surface. The vehicle can include a high-pressure fluid supply system operable to supply high-pressure fluid to the spray-head assembly. The fluid-storage tank and the debris tank can be mounted on the vehicle and can be separate components such that the debris tank can be tilted between first and second positions independently of the fluid-storage tank. The ability to independently move the debris tank allows the mechanism used to move the debris tank to be sized appropriate for the debris tank without the necessity of being sized to accommodate the movement of the fluid-storage tank in addition to the debris tank.
A peristaltic pump can communicate with the debris tank. The peristaltic pump can advantageously allow the removal of fluid from the debris tank while the vacuum system is creating a vacuum within the debris tank.
An articulating-arm assembly can couple the spray-head assembly to the vehicle. The articulating-arm assembly can include a pair of rotary actuators with at least one link extending therebetween. The first one of the rotary actuators can advantageously pivot the link relative to the vehicle about a substantially vertically-extending first axis. A second one of the rotary actuators can advantageously pivot the spray-head assembly relative to the link about a second generally vertically-extending axis. The ability to independently rotate the link relative to the vehicle and the spray-head assembly relative to the link advantageously facilitates the maneuvering of the spray-head assembly along the road surface and into confined or restricted spaces.
Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. It should be understood that the description and specific examples are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.
The drawings described herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure in any way.
The following description is merely exemplary in nature and is not intended to limit the present disclosure, application, or uses.
Referring now to
Referring now to
In operation, debris, liquid, and air are sucked into spray-head assembly 28 and flow through hose 62 and dump into debris tank 36. The air flows out of debris tank 36 and into centrifugal filter(s) 64 and subsequently into a media filter 66. The air leaves media filter 66 and flows through vacuum pump 60 and is discharged to the environment through muffler 68. Vacuum system 34 can also induce a flow of cooling air through spray-head assembly 28 that can flow across a gear box therein, as described below.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Debris tank 36 includes an inlet port 124 through which debris, liquid, and air sucked up by spray-head assembly 28 can be received into the interior of debris tank 36. Vacuum hose 62 can be coupled to inlet 124. Debris tank 36 can include a sight window 126, as shown in
A space 134, as shown in
Debris tank 36 can include a plurality of openings in the bottom thereof to allow the removal of the liquid therefrom. A pair of discharge pipes 136 with valves 138 therein can be coupled to the ports on the bottom of debris tank 36. Valves 138 can be selectively opened to allow the liquid within debris tank 36 to be drained therefrom. During operation, valves 38 can be closed and debris tank 36 under vacuum by vacuum system 34. When material-removal system 20 is idle (i.e., vacuum system is not running), valves 138 can be opened to allow the liquid within space 134 to be drained therefrom.
In some applications, it may be necessary or desirable to remove liquid or liquid and debris from debris tank 36 during operation of material-removal system 20 (i.e., such as when vacuum system 34 is operational and debris tank 36 is under vacuum). Such possibilities may occur when it is permissible to discharge the liquid and/or debris captured within debris tank 36 directly to the environment. For this type of operation, however, debris tank 36 is under vacuum and removal from debris tank 36 can be difficult. The inventor has advantageously discovered that a peristaltic pump 140 can be utilized to remove liquid and debris from debris tank 36 during operation of material-removal system 20 and vacuum system 34. Peristaltic pump 140 can be coupled to one of the discharge valves 138 with a flexible hose 142. The associated valve 138 can be opened and peristaltic pump 140 can be operated to draw liquid and, if desired, debris from debris tank 36 while vacuum system 34 is operational thereby allowing debris tank 36 to remain under vacuum. Peristaltic pump 140 can discharge the liquid and debris removed from debris tank 36 to the environment through an outlet 144. Peristaltic pump 140 can be hydraulically driven. Suitable peristaltic pumps include Allweiler pumps available from Imo Pump of Monroe, N.C.
Removing liquid from debris tank 36 while traveling down the road can advantageously reduce down time and the time needed to recharge material removal system 20. Thus, in the event that the quantity of debris within debris tank 36 does not necessitate that the debris be physically removed from debris tank 36, when vehicle 22 arrives at a servicing station for service, it may be possible to only require the filling of fluid-storage tank 40 to enable further operation of material-removal system 20. That is, fluid-storage tank 40 can be filled at a much quicker rate than the waste fluid can be removed from debris tank 36. Thus, by removing the fluid from debris tank 36 while traveling down the road with peristaltic pump 140, the servicing time required to service material-removal system 20 can be significantly reduced thereby providing increased up time and greater revenue generation from material-removal system 20. Additionally, the pumping of liquid from debris tank 36 can draw the fluid through the filtration media affixed to walls 130, 132. Liquid can also be removed from debris tank 36 during the dumping operation. That is, when debris tank 36 is tilted upwardly, the liquid along with the debris therein can be removed by opening door 90. A suitable debris tank can be acquired from Flo Trend Systems of Houston, Tex. For example, Flo Trend Model No. VM-08-G/V debris tank can be utilized in material-removal system 20.
Referring now to
Articulating-arm assembly 30 can also include a rotary actuator 174, such as a hydraulic actuator, that pivotally couples base plate 162 to the front bumper of vehicle 22. Rotary actuator 174 can rotate articulating-arm assembly 30 along about a vertically-extending axis. Articulating-arm assembly 30 can also include another rotary actuator 176, such as a hydraulic actuator, that can pivotally couple spray-head plate 164 to spray-head assembly 28. Rotary actuator 176 can thereby pivot spray-head assembly 28 relative to articulating-arm assembly 30 about a vertical axis.
Referring now to
Gear-box assembly 182 can be driven by a hydraulic motor 210 to rotate fluid bars 186, as described below. Motor 210 can be mounted to gear-box assembly 182. Vacuum hose 62 is split and coupled to base plate 180 at multiple locations. In the material-removal system 20 shown, vacuum hose 62 is split into two lines 62 a, 62 b and can pass through openings 212, 214 in base plate 180 and be coupled to two vacuum ports 216, 218 on shroud. The attachment of vacuum hose 62 at these multiple locations facilitates the capture of the debris removed from the surface along with the fluid expelled by fluid bars 186, as described below. Additionally, the suction imparted on the cavity of shroud 190 facilitates the drawing of cooling air over gear-box assembly 182. Specifically, base plate 180 can have a plurality of ventilation openings 220 that align with a plurality of ventilation openings 222 in shroud 190. When vacuum hose 62 is sucking a vacuum on the cavity formed by shroud 190, along with air that enters cavity around skirt 194, air can also enter the cavity through ventilation openings 220, 222. The air entering ventilation openings 220, 222 passes between base plate 180 and gear-box assembly 182 thereby providing a flow of cooling or ventilating air across the surface of gear-box assembly 182. Ventilation openings 220, 222 can be disposed beneath gear-box assembly 182 at desired positions to encourage a desirable flow pattern across the surface of gear-box assembly 182. It should be appreciated that the location, size, and number of ventilation openings 220, 222 can vary depending upon the cooling needs of spray-head assembly 28 and gear-box assembly 182. High-pressure fluid line 44 is coupled to spray-head assembly 28 and communicates with each shaft 184 to supply high-pressure fluid to the associated fluid bar 186, as described below.
Referring now to
The sweep area 230 of each fluid bar 186 is representative of the area over which the associated fluid bar 186 can direct high-pressure fluid. The overlap of sweep areas 230 results in overlapping regions 234. Overlapping regions 234 allow for redundant coverage of the surface over which spray-head assembly 28 travels. Overlapping regions 234 may allow for quicker removal of the material or coating from the surface and may increase the rate at which vehicle 22 can be operated. Overlapping regions 234 may increase the efficiency of the removal operation and may reduce the costs associated with the removal. Additionally, the use of overlapping regions 234 can reduce the overall size of spray-head assembly 28 thereby facilitating the movement of spray-head assembly 28 over or into confined or restricted spaces. Additionally, articulating-arm assembly 30 can be adjusted and/or spray-head assembly 28 rotated, as described above, to change the spray pattern imparted upon the surface over which spray-head assembly 28 travels to accommodate wider or narrower areas of coverage of the surface.
Referring now to
Upper housing 252 can include grease channels 272 that communicate with spray openings 254 and drive opening 256. Grease channels 272 allow grease to be inserted into the bearings of gear-box assembly 182. Lower housing 252 can also include a grease channel (not shown) that allows grease to be inserted into a lower drive gear bearing of gear-box assembly 182.
Gear-box assembly 182 provides an indexing feature wherein the rotation of fluid bars 186 about their rotation axis is coordinated. The indexing feature prevents the rotation of fluid bars 186 from interfering with one another. The indexing feature of gear-box assembly 182 is provided through the intermeshing of gears associated with each fluid bar 186 and its associated shaft 184. As best seen in
Shafts 184 are disposed within gear-box assembly 182 with upper and lower portions 280, 282 extending outwardly beyond the respective upper and lower housings 250, 252. Each shaft 184 can be disposed within a channel extending through a hub 300 of a gear 302. Second set of teeth 288 can engage with a set of teeth within the channel of hub 300. The engagement of these teeth can rotationally lock shaft 184 to an associated gear 302. An upper bushing 304 can be disposed around the upper portion of the hub 300 and can engage with a shoulder of a spray opening 254 of upper housing 250. An upper bearing 306 can be disposed around the upper portion of hub 300 between bushing 304 and hub 300. Bushing 304 can include a fluid channel that communicates with the grease channel 272 in upper housing 250 to allow grease to be supplied to upper bearing 306. A lower bushing 307 can be disposed around the lower portion of the hub 300 and can engage with a shoulder of a spray opening 258. A lower bearing 308 can be disposed around the lower portion of hub 300 between bushing 307 and hub 300. Bushing 307 can include a fluid channel to allow grease to be supplied to lower bearing 308. The lower portion of hub 300 can extend through a plate 312 which can be secured to lower housing 252 coaxial with an associated spray opening 258. Plate 312 can include a grease channel 314 that allows grease to be supplied to lower bearing 308 through bushing 307. Shaft 184 is thereby axially constrained relative to upper and lower housings 250, 252. A shield 316 can be disposed on coupler 292 around shaft 184. Shield 316 can inhibit the flow of debris and blasting fluid from flowing upwardly and contacting plate 312 and the lower portion of hub 300.
Gears 302 have a set of teeth 318 that are intermeshed with one another. The intermeshing of teeth 318 of each gear 302 with another gear 302 rotationally links each shaft 184 and an associated fluid bar 186 with the other shafts 184 and fluid bars 186. As a result, the rotation of shafts 184 and the associated fluid bars 186 are coordinated so that fluid bars 186 do not interfere with or crash into one another during rotation.
Gear-box assembly 182 can also include a drive gear 330 with a set of teeth 332 thereon. Teeth 332 of drive gear 330 are intermeshed with teeth 318 in an adjacent gear 302. Rotation of drive gear 330 is translated into rotation of gears 302 through the intermeshing of the associated teeth 332, 318. Drive gear 380 includes a hub 333 with a set of internal teeth 336 therein. Teeth 336 can engage with the splines on a driveshaft of hydraulic-drive motor 210 to drive spray-head assembly 28. Optionally, a shear gear or coupler (not shown) can be disposed between the driveshaft of motor 210 and teeth 336 and can operate as a sacrificial part in the event of an overload condition, such as one of the fluid bars hitting an object. A bushing 338 can extend around the upper portion of hub 333 and can engage with a side wall of drive opening 256 of upper housing 250. An upper bearing 340 can be disposed between the upper portion of hub 333 and bushing 338. A lower bearing 342 can engage with a drive recess 334 in lower housing 252 which is arranged coaxially with drive opening 256 in upper housing 250. An upper plate 346 can be attached to the exterior surface of upper housing 250 coaxial with drive opening 256. Plate 346 can engage with bushing 338 to retain drive gear 330 between upper and lower housings 250, 252. Bushing 338 can include a channel that communicates with the grease channel 272 associated with drive opening 256 to facilitate the addition of grease to upper bearing 340. Similarly, lower housing 252 can include a grease channel (not shown) that facilitates the addition of grease to lower bearing 342.
Gear-box assembly 182 can be filled with an oil, such as a synthetic oil, to lubricate gears 302, 330 and their relative rotation. Lower housing 252 can include an input port 350 and an output port 352 that can, respectively, be used to add oil to and remove oil from gear-box assembly 182. Upper housing 250 can include a breather hole 354.
As best seen in
Spray channels 382 and the associated nozzle cavities 384 can be angled relative to the axis of rotation of shaft 184. For example, as shown in
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
While the present invention has been described with reference to specific components, configurations, and arrangements, it should be appreciated that variations can be made to the embodiments disclosed without deviating from the teachings of the present invention. For example, while hydraulic-actuated cylinders, actuators, and motors shown as being used with material-removal system 20, it should be appreciated that other types of actuators, such as electric, pneumatic, steam, and the like, can also be employed. Additionally, the number of vacuum ports and their arrangements can also vary from that shown. Moreover, the number of fluid bars utilizing each spray-head assembly and their orientation can also vary from that shown. Thus, such variations are not to be regarded as a deviation from the spirit and scope of the present teachings.
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|U.S. Classification||15/320, 239/251, 134/103.3, 15/340.1|